24 December 2010

Here's a Shocker…

It turns out that all those studies showing Americans to be the most church going and religious people in the industrialized world, don't show this.

They just show that Americans are the most likely to lie to pollsters about their religiosity:
Two in five Americans say they regularly attend religious services. Upward of 90 percent of all Americans believe in God, pollsters report, and more than 70 percent have absolutely no doubt that God exists. The patron saint of Christmas, Americans insist, is the emaciated hero on the Cross, not the obese fellow in the overstuffed costume.

There is only one conclusion to draw from these numbers: Americans are significantly more religious than the citizens of other industrialized nations.

Except they are not.

Beyond the polls, social scientists have conducted more rigorous analyses of religious behavior. Rather than ask people how often they attend church, the better studies measure what people actually do. The results are surprising. Americans are hardly more religious than people living in other industrialized countries. Yet they consistently—and more or less uniquely—want others to believe they are more religious than they really are.
If this is true, then the only surprise is that I am apparently more religiously observant than the average America, which buggers the mind.


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